And not forgotten: yet more women still in peril

In my series women in peril, I am approaching certain films that fit several other sub genres. I might use titles for this particular series but later on down the road, I will examine them further with commentaries which  fall under other genres / Classic horror, obscure cult films of the 70’s, Cinematic madness, Satan in Suburbia, the slasher flick and so on. These might be approached from a different P.O.V. or thematic relevance.

Although I’ve been showing images and listing titles of films that stroke that certain chord of femmes in distress, I will want to approach certain of these films in more depth under other categories later on. And just to mention a few more ladies whom I adore: Veronica Lake, Eleanor Parker, Gena Rowlands, Nina Foch, Merle Oberon, Gene Tierney, Ruth Gordon, Linda Darnell, Jane Greer, Jeanne Moreau, Charlotte Rampling, Karen Black and so many more.


Scenes from The Witches

Shadows In The Night (1944)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

The Damned Don’t Cry (1950)

The Night Porter (1974)

The Birds (1963)

Ms.45 (1981)

The Innocents (1961)

Dear Dead Delilah (1972)

Trilogy of Terror (1975)

The Witches (1966) alt title The Devil’s Own

Kind Lady (1951)

The Hearse (1980)

Barbarella (1968)

Marnie (1964)

Secret Ceremony (1968)

Ash Wednesday (1973)

Cat people (1942)

Possession (1947)

Bluebeard (1944)

Bedlam (1946)

Three Faces of Eve (1957)

Let’s scare Jessica to death (1971)

Straight on til morning (1972)

Svengali (1931)

My blood runs cold (1965)

Haunts (1977)

In the devil’s garden (1971)

Twisted Nerve (1968)

House of whipcord

Sudden Fear: Shadows wicked, shadows gladdened, an offertory of clocks: time’s running out.

SUDDEN FEAR Joan Crawford: Queen of the volatile eyebrows with a life all their own. Her vulcanized eyebrows frame her austere gaze.

In Sudden Fear, the tale of Myra Hudson, wealthy San Fransisco Heiress and playwright who’s new play Halfway To Heaven is about to become another smashing success. At first we see a very empowered woman who doesn’t like to be referred to as an heiress .She’s independent and obviously is well guarded in terms of her emotions. Here she is an iconic figure of the woman as upper or middle class protagonist, perhaps unconsciously inviting in something ominous into her safe environment. She’s unaware of being provocative yet allowing this intruder into her normal life.

This is a stylish noir melodrama, genre story telling at it’s best. The villain, is lying in wait for the innocent, vulnerable bystander to give way to the intrusion. A secret desire perhaps to shake up the ordinary world they usually inhabit.

Lester Blaine is played by Jack Palance*, the imposing and saturnine actor whose appearance generates that of Minotaur rather than leading man. (Palance’s appearance fated him to play the villain in more than one Noir film in it’s prime. His jawline conveys menace, his dark and brooding deep set eyes betray a sinister inner prayer for self satisfaction and malice.)

Lester has failed to land the lead in the play. Myra, watching from the theater seats while auditioning him, says “he sounds romantic enough, he just doesn’t look romantic enough”

Once Blaine finds out that he hasn’t landed the part in Myra’s play he bursts forth onto the stage and delivers a diatribe about a famous painting of Casanova that she should really visit. “He’s got big ears and a scar, and looks just like me.”

Is he genuinely hurt or is he contriving to get close to Myra? At this point we are unsure of his motivations, yet we do see a glimpse of something unsavory, sinister in his unctuous mannerism.

Now Myra is on a train from New York headed back to San Francisco, where she sees Blaine from her compartment window and calls out to him. Miraculously Blaine, is boarding the same train. After a few awkward moments, Myra trying to justify not picking him for the lead actor in the play, the ice is broken and Blaine begins to romance her. We sense that his charm, his parlor tricks of affectionate gestures are lures for the bait. His oily, silken tone, wiling her into his gaze and out of her safety zone. To us he has a sadist’s air, but Myra has already started to loosen her grip on her formality. She has given in. They ride through to Chicago, where he takes her to an acting school for wrestlers, we’re told. Back on the train, he asks her why she works. “The desire to achieve, to stand on my own two feet, instead of my father’s fortune, make a place in the world.” Here again, we are reminded that Myra was a very strong-minded and independent femme inoffensif.

Now that the Minotaur is lurking, and the romance has been kindled, Crawford’s face is softening with each frame as she accepts him into her soul’s stoic citadel. They share quotes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and then their hands mesh, his fingers baring a ring, she asks if it’s a wedding ring, he says it’s his mother’s.

The trap is set. She is caught. She brings him home to her apartment in San Francisco where he meets her two friends, her lawyer Steve Kearney – played by the innocuous Bruce Bennett, the ever vigilant and devoted attorney/friend. She then takes him up to her study where “plays are born” She shows him her dictaphone where she records everything, scene descriptions and the bequests for her last will and testament. And they drink milk. A virtuous drink. The drink of lily white modesty. He begins a soliloquy from one of her plays. ” It’s flattering to be quoted. Another move closer, piercing her tough heart seed. He moves towards her and now they kiss.

We are taken along through scenes of sight seeing the great points of lookout for San Francisco; the Trolley, the Bridge, Muir Woods. The music tells us the mood is that of metropolitan musings. The bustle of car horns and trumpet hollers. The city is now fresh with new love for Myra and Lester Blaine.

The celebratory, outdoor frames end and suddenly relinquish themselves into a frantic moody setting at  Myra’s apartment. Guests downstairs at a party she’s thrown in honor of Lester. She’s frantically ringing his room. We see her black glassy shoes pacing in the room. She lights a cigarette. Her friends Steve and Ann come in to see if she’s coming back down to the party.

Now we see Blaine pacing. His shoes are the vantage point with which we understand the fervor of his first inscrutable stratagem set forth to weaken Myra’s self possession. She relentlessly rings his phone. He’s lying on top of his bed, smoking a cigarette allowing her to become more diminished with every dead silence.

She tells her friends to “Tell the guests anything”. She is now a desperate woman, something must have happened to him. She goes to his room. We see him at the top of the stairs with his bags packed. He looms like a great menacing presence. Stairs in Noir films are often a symbol, a mechanism to facilitate the atmosphere of the ascent towards danger, and insecurity. He tells her that he doesn’t belong in her world. She tells him she has nothing without him. His ruse has worked. They are married.

At her summer house, they awaken from their marriage bed, and greet the new day, by walking out onto the balcony near the stairs leading down towards the ocean. It’s very steep and rocky with no guard rail. Treacherous if you were to lose your balance. I wondered, will he try to push her down this rocky tor? What Myra calls the precipice. Blaine feigns concern for her safety and she quotes Nietzsche “live dangerously” a foreshadowing of the pact she has inadvertently signed with the devil.

At the reception of Mr and Mrs Lester Blaine, the dubious Irene Neves played by the sweltering Gloria Grahame comes walking in on the arm of Steve’s brother Jr. (Mike Connor) The sultry vulpine blond unwraps her white head scarf and everything changes from here.

We see Lester leering at Irene curiously. They have a past relationship?

After the reception Irene, once again climbing a set of stairs to her apartment, puts the key in the door, and is startled by Lester who comes at her from behind. She screams as he pushes her into the apartment with brutal compulsion. Sounding furious he asks ” What are you doing in San Francisco?” she replies so cooly “An old friend of mine married a San Francisco girl.” Throwing a newspaper at him she follows up with “Here I’ll show you it was in all the newspapers.” He slaps it out of her hands and says “Don’t be cute.”

Now we understand that we have a pair of anti-social opportunists who not only know each other but have never severed the relationship. Lester gets furious at the thought of Irene dating Jr. and wants to know what she’s done to impress him? He warns Irene, if she ever does, she’ll need a new face! Blaine’s violent potency has manifested in full force now for us to see.

Amidst several diversionary tactics, like asking Steve, Myra’s trusted friend and lawyer to help him find work because he would never live off his wife’s money. Lester and Irene meet in secret. He asks why she’s still dating Jr. “Cause the rents due, and I’d rather eat dinner than starve.” These two ruthless people begin to plot Myra’s demise. They must be careful. It must look like an accident.

Steve suggests to Myra that she makes a sensible change in terms of the will. She is about to inherit her fathers entire fortune soon. But Myra says she won’t hang onto any man she loves from the grave nor from this side of the grave either. For the first time she feels poor because all she has to give is her love to Lester. And for the first time she feels rich because she is getting so much back from him in return. She wants to share all her worldly goods with this reptilian deceiver she’s fallen in love with. She bequeaths her entire estate onto the Dictaphone, in her study. That night there is a party, people are playing poker, Lester and Irene slip away into Myra’s study and begin to conspire and embrace.

The next day, the secretary tells Myra that she left the dictaphone on. Myra disagrees but let’s the issue drop. Once in the study she listens to the bequest “For the happiness he’s given me…” then a sudden skip in the recording and now we hear Lester and Irene who had inadvertently recorded themselves scheming.

And now the veil of deception has been lifted. She has been so naive, so fragile for once. Her face horrified, devastated by the betrayal. She hears how he’s never loved her. How it makes his skin crawl to tell her he loves her. She weeps, she hears them read the will that Steve intended for Lester. “she doesn’t sign the Will until Monday, can’t get the old mans money ’til then, suppose something happens between now and Monday?” They have to make it look like an accident. They’ve got 3 days. The record starts to skip. And Gloria Grahame’s razor edged voice, drones on and on ” I know a way… I know a way”. Myra runs to the bathroom, and gets sick. She realizes that she’s got proof of their plot to murder her, but in her frenzy to hide the recording she accidentally breaks it.

This scene is one of the most powerfully driven slow burning revelations– the gestalte of this dark story. The droning voice of Irene, she’s defenseless, staring at her marriage bed, where lies were perpetrated upon her. The incessant violation, “it’ll have to look like an accident.” She clasps her ears. She begins to dream, the dreams sow the seed of nightmares. All the ways she could die. Being pushed from the tallest window. Being smothered by unseen hands pushing a pillow over her face. Suddenly she is woken up by Blaine who has broken through the door, acting concerned. She flinches, afraid of him. We see the shift in her now. Her gaze has shifted to abject fear of this man. Then her fear seems to turn to scorn. A little sign of her durability comes back to her complexion.

Instead of going to her friend Steve who would have readily believed her story, she contrives to undermine Lester and Irene by laying the ground work for her own strategy,to set them both up. The film begins to unwind into a dark forest of shadowy contours and murkiness. Scenes of Crawford’s machinations through the lens of her extraordinary eyes. The shadow of the clock’s pendulum oscillating on her face, over her heart, while she envisions her plan enacted. There are a variety of scenes with clocks. The use of the clock in this film is emblematic of Myra’s living on borrowed time. Of time running out for all the players. There’s also a very gripping and inventive scene with a little wind up toy dog that escalates the atmosphere of agitation and tautness. The shadows that frame the figures like contoured walls of darkness. Crawford’s eyes convey much of the rest of the narrative.

You’ll have to see the film yourself, I will not spoil the way the rest of this film plays out. It doesn’t unbend at the final frame, but rather awakens from the shadows, the noir landscape, the sound of high heels fleeing on cobble stone streets no more. Wet down in bleak and dreary puddles of rain. The sun comes up slowly mounting on the back of the morning sky, ascending renewal. The end of sudden fear.

Screenplay by Lenore Coffee and Robert Smith from the novel by Edna Sherry.
Directed by David Miller and director of photography was Charles Lang Jr. (Some Like It Hot, How The West Was Won, The Magnificent Seven, Charade and Wait Until Dark)
Film’s score by Elmer Bernstein

* Several years ago I had the great privilege of sitting at a neighboring table across from the great Jack Palance, at a very quaint Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. Although I had been such a huge fans of his for years, I did not want to insinuate myself into his dinner conversation. He had been sketching with crayon on the tablecloth something for someone who appeared to be a director. They were obviously discussing the details of some project. I felt so special to be seated near him. In person, he seemed as gentle as a labrador retriever. Not the imposing gargoyle of a man that he came across in most of his films. I consider that meal, a very special moment in time.


More Women In Peril






Sisters (1973)

I Want To Live (1958)

The Honeymoon killers (1969)

Dead Ringer (1964)

The Dark Corner (1946)

The Reckless Moment (1949)

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice(1969)

The File On Thelma Jordan (1950)

No Way Out (1950)

Don’t Bother To Knock (1952)

Nightmare Alley (1947)

A Woman Under The Influence (1974)

The Prowler (1951)

Lady In The Lake (1947)

Dolores Clairborne (1995)

A Street Car Named Desire (1951)

The Ladykillers (1955)

In A Lonely Place (1950)

Tattoo (1981)

Gloria (1989)

The Penalty (1920)

The Naked Kiss (1964)

Charade (1953)

Night Of the Hunter(1955)

Caged (1950)





Women In Peril: Feature Overview Part II

Here is the second installment, a few more films that I consider highly engrossing for this theme, Women In Peril, horror/noir/mystery and the thriller.Some films create environments where the women in danger are subjected to psychological distress as much as they are in mortal danger of their lives. I hope you find this additional list interesting and entertaining. Again, I will review some or most of what I’ve listed below. I’ll go more in depth as I usually do once I am examining a film as a singular entry which allows me more time to elaborate on the details, plot design,my impressions of the film and a little referential details  as I’m always like to do.

Note: I can’t do Last House On The Left, because I could never bring myself to see it. And I was interested in covering Tattoo, but I’ve heard it’s just a vile misogynist mess, so I’m not sure I’d even waste the time. And I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of The Todd Killings which I would LOVE to see.

The Killing Kind (1973) I won’t be reviewing this film. I mention it because it fits the genre, yet I won’t be able to watch it again as I have previously stated there is a horrible scene of animal cruelty to cats and I just can’t bring myself to watch it again. I am a huge admirer of Curtis Harrington, yet I believe the film would have been better if he hadn’t included that aspect to this film. John Savage plays illegitimate Terry Lambert a young man falsely accused of participating in a gang-rape. While in prison he develops a violent sexual penchant towards women. Once released he moves back home with his emasculating mother played by Ann Southern, which only fuels his rage further. He winds up going on a killing spree of revenge towards all the women he perceives as having wronged him. Also stars Ruth Roman

Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (1969) A mentally disturbed man stalks a woman who had once aborted the child he had fathered.

Stars Paul Burke and Carol White. Directed by Mark Robson. Again, i vaguely remember a cat being killed in this film, so I might skip the review.

Conflict (1945)Humphrey Bogart plays Richard Mason who pretends to be an invalid so he can plot to kill his wife Kathryn He does, however, kill her on a lonely mountain road. Or did he really succeed? Soon after, He smells her perfume, finds her jewelry, sees an envelope addressed with her handwriting. Stars Alexis Smith and Sydney Greenstreet.

TheFantasist (1986) When an Irish woman moves from the suburbs to Dublin, she begins receiving phone calls from a stranger. Stars Moira Harris, Christopher Cazenove and Timothy Bottoms.

Screaming Mimi (1958) Starring Anita Ekberg and directed by Gerd Oswald, She plays a tormented Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson. Who witnesses a murder. Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker.

So Sad About Gloria (1975)

A young woman just released from a mental hospital moves back in with her family. However, she is soon troubled by disturbing visions in which she commits a series of axe murders. Stars Lori Saunders and Dean Jagger.

The Climax (1944)

Starring Boris Karloff he plays Dr Hohner the theatre physician at the Vienne Royal Theatre who has already killed his mistress then becomes obsesses with a young diva (Susanna Foster)and goes to extreme lengths to make sure she will never sing for anyone else but him.

The7thVictim (1943)A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York’s Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling’s random disappearance. Starring Kim Hunter and Jean Brooks, this is yet another Val Lewton’s masterpiece, directed by Mark Robson who worked very closely with Lewton on his collection of shadow masterpieces for the poverty row scene set up to compete with Universal.I will be doing a feature on Val Lewton in the future, and will be revisiting this film as part of his collection.
Jane Eyre (1943) Faithful adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s gothic romance about Jane played by Joan Fontaine, who has had a brutal childhood in a stark and cruelly run orphanage, comes to an old manor house, to take care of Margaret O’Brien, the daughter of the mysterious and angry Edward Rochester, played by the brooding Orson Welles.
The Big Heat (1953) Starring Glenn Ford as a jaded cop and Gloria Grahame the ex-mob gal who’s face has been disfigured by her scorned lover. Ford enlists her help in trapping the mobster who was responsible for killing his wife. Grahame’s character is so integral to the plot, as she is thrown in harms way once again. Noir at it’s best.
Straight Jacket 1964) stars Joan Crawford and Diane Baker. Directed by the showman William Castle and written by Robert Bloch, this is a story about insanity and the mother/daughter relationship complexities that unfold, once Crawford is released from an institution
Revenge,Axes and Motherhood.
Walk On The Wild Side (1962)Capucine plays Halie Gerard a kept woman by Jo (Barbara Stanwyck)who runs a house of ill repute. Jane Fonda(Kitty) and Laurence Harvey (Dove) stumble onto the House where Barbara Stanwyck keeps a tight hold on her call girls. When Capucine wants to leave with Harvey she threatens her safety and puts her life in jeopardy. Directed by Edward Dmytryk and the sultry titles by Saul Bass, make this a sexy thriller. Also starring Anne Baxter and Joanna Moore
Bunny Lake Is Missing(1965) Otto Preminger directs this psychological masterpiece, where Carol Lynley comes to London with her little girl and her brother Kier Dullea. When Bunny her child goes missing after dropping off at school, no one believes her story, or that the little girl ever existed at all. Lynley’s ordeal is almost more punishing than if she herself were in danger, because the psychic pain she endures is more compelling in a lot of ways. Laurence Olivier plays the kindly detective on the case.

Midnight Lace (1960)
Doris Day stars as wife to David Niven. One day she hears a voice in the fog, and then she is continued to be assailed by an unseen figure. Is David Niven trying to gaslight her?
TheLodger(1944)Directed by John Brahm and scripted by Barre Lyndon, this adaptation of the jack the ripper themed treatment stars Merle Oberon and Laird Cregar as the mysterious boarder who lives upstair with his little black bag.

The Snake Pit (1948)
Directed by Anatole Litvak, this stars Olivia de Havilland as a woman who’s harrowing life of hallucinations and memory loss come spiraling out of control as she is then thrown into a mental institution, the snake pit.

When A Stranger Calls (1979) Carol Kane stars as the babysitter who picks up the phone only to hear the voice on the other end say ” Have you checked the children”

Laura(1944) directed by Otto Preminger this is a film noir masterpiece starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Vincent Price.A police detective Dana Andrews falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating.

Human Desire (1954) Directed by Fritz Lang this stars Gloria Grahame as the emotionally abused wife of jealous brut Broderick Crawford who works with Glenn Ford as train engineers. Once Ford starts up an affair with Grahame things really get complicated for everyone. Blackmail, violence, murder and passion. Another noir masterpiece.
The Unsuspected (1947) Directed by Michael Curtiz, Claude Raines plays Victor Grandison “Grandy” who hosts a radio show called ” The Unsuspected” which is a murder mystery program. A girl has been murdered. Joan Caulfield and Audrey Totter star in this intense thriller.

Fingers At The Window (1942)Stars Lew Ayres and Laraine Day and Basil Rathbone. There is an Axe Murderer running amok in the streets of Chicago. Lew Ayres takes a special interest in Laraine Day when he discovers that she might be next.

Dragonwyck (1946) Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price as the Lord of the Land in old Upstate New York, who takes Tierney as his bride after his first wife succumbs to illness. Once Tierney is on the estate, she finds her gentleman husband, has strange mood swings and secrets as he insists that she bare him a son. Outstanding story with exceptional acting by Price and Tierney. Another of my favorite actresses.


The Woman In White (1948) Starring Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Gig Young and Agnes Moorehead, Young is a painter who comes to give lessons to Eleanor Parker, when a strange and mysterious woman dressed in white keeps appearing. Is she a ghost. And what are the secrets that Sidney Greenstreet is keeping.

Women In Peril Series Overview: A part of film history/sub genre Part I

I am starting to list some of the most memorable women in peril films over the past decades that have left an impression on me, and have made their mark on the horror/Noir/mystery/thriller genres.

Here are the films that I plan on discussing in depth with individual reviews to follow. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some, so I’ll be periodically adding whatever films I might have overlooked during this series. Each day I’ll offer another essay on most, if not all of the films seen here. If there’s a film that you’ve notice I’ve omitted please feel free to drop me a note and I’ll gladly add it to the mix.

I’ve considered adding Rosemary’s Baby and The Mephisto Waltz, but I’d like to save them as a pair of essays on Witchcraft in cinema.

The criteria that I am using to classify what I consider to be a woman in peril film is how i view the plot narrative as seen a) through the female gaze b)there is one or several main female characters who are central to the plot and are not just on the periphery of the film. There are so many films where women characters are either victims, in danger or are targeted, and so their presence satellites around the story but does not drive the narrative enough for me to qualify it as for this sub-genre study.

As in Psycho,Dressed To Kill where the female lead is killed in the beginning these films we are following more of the Protagonist(Norman Bates) as in Peeping Tom, or Silence of The Lambs( Hannibal Lechter)where women have been murdered, they should be reserved for solo review because the plot is viewed through the Protagonist’s lens. In The Boston Strangler 1968 , there are various women victims, yet the film is shot almost sensitively facilitated by Henry Fonda’s character who guides Tony Curtis(Albert DeSalvo) through a self reflexive process in order to reassemble the time line and the motivation and substance of his insanity which lead to his crimes. It is more Psychological True Crime Police Drama

The films are not in any chronological order nor are they sorted by definition of how much I either loved the film or at least found the film entertaining. Here are some general synopsis:

You will notice that I am a huge fan of Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Baxter Joan Bennett, Joan Crawford,Olivia de Havilland, Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Grahame, Lee Remick, Simone Signoret and more. 70’s actresses like Faye Dunaway,Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett, Barbara Parkins , Joanna Pettit, Stefanie Powers  and more.

Beware My Lovely (1952)

Stars Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan who’s volatile temper makes him a walking time bomb.

The Blue Gardenia (1953) Starring Ann Baxter and Richard Conte

Baxter gets mixed up in a murder mystery and must try and figure out whether she’s the killer or not!

Lady In A Cage (1964

Cast A Dark Shadow (1955)

Stars Dirk Bogarde as the sociopath Edward “Teddy” Bare who marries an elderly woman Margaret Lockwood, for her money. He dotes on her until the time is right, then moves onto his next victim.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Charlotte is a wealthy southern spinster who is shunned by her community for the grisly murder some 40 years prior.

She is taken care of by her faithful servant Velma played brilliantly by Agnes Moorehead. Charlotte holds up in the house refusing to leave when she is issued an eviction notice. Enter, “Cousin Miriam” with her gentleman friend played by Joseph Cotton. Unfortunately Miriam has other motivations for coming to the Hollis Plantation. Miriam is the sole beneficiary once she can manage to have Charlotte committed for her odd and reclusive behavior.This is a tragic and twisted tale of revenge and greed.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)


Directed again by the great Robert Aldridge this was the first time he brought the two great titans together , regardless of how tumultuous their relationship was off screen.

Bette Davis plays Jane Hudson, a washed up child star living as a recluse in her mansion with her invalid sister, Blanche played by Joan Crawford. The psychological warfare that Jane wages against her sister a virtual prisoner is intense. A story of envy, jealousy, loss of youth and revenge.

Sudden Fear (1952)

Starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame.After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Die Die My Darling aka Fanatic (1965)

Stephanie Powers stars as Patricia Carroll who arrives in London to get remarried, and regretfully takes a detour out to the rural English countryside to see her former fiance’s mother the controlling Mrs Trefoile.Played by Tallulah Bankhead. Mrs.Trefoile blames Pat for automobile accident that killed her son.

Sorry Wrong Number (1948)

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Another Hitchcock thriller:

Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice decides to murder his wife for her money. He blackmails an old college associate to strangle her, but when things go wrong he sees a way to turn events to his advantage.

Ray Milland plays Tony Wendice who finds out that his wife Margo played by Grace Kelly had an affair.Tony sets out to plan the perfect murder but his plans go terribly astray when the killer becomes the victim instead.Wendice trying to cover everything up, decides then to make it appear that Margo had an ulterior motive for killing the man.

 

 

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

directed by Robert Siodmak

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4093247769/

Gaslight (1944)

Why does the flame go down? In a London house where the fixtures are gas flames. The lovely Ingrid Bergman plays Paula Anton who is being driven mad by husband Charles Boyer. Joseph Cotton plays a Scotland Yard detective who suspects that something isn’t quite right. suspects. This Oscar winning (Best Actress) dark mystery,introduces Angela Lansbury in her first acting role plays one of the servants. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Boyer).

Repulsion (1965)Catherine Deneuve plays a very troubled Belgian girl, Carol, who works as a manicurist at a London beauty salon. . She shares a flat with her sister Helen and her sister’s married lover, Michael.Carol has a distrust of men. The Landlord is a lecherous sort who terrorizes her, and ultimately her mind begins to unravel over a long weekend while she’s alone in the flat.  Roman Polanski directs this disturbing imaginative film. The scenes of catalepsy and hallucination are very heavy as Carol descends into madness. I wrote a song called There’s A Crack In The Wall off my neo classical album The Last Drive In as a tribute to this film.

Reflections of Murder (1974)

Directed by John Badham and stars Tuesday Weld, Sam Waterston and Joan Hackett.this is a very faithful retelling of Diabolique.

Nightmare (1964) Hammer Horror

A British thriller by the Hammer group. A young girl is released from an institution on her sixteenth birthday, after having been believed to have killed her parents. Is someone trying to drive her mad?

A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

Robert Wagner plays a perfect all American sociopath in this film about an opportunistic fellow who sets his sights on becoming successful at any cost. When girlfriend Joanne Woodward gets pregnant that puts an obstacle in his way


Scream Of Fear aka Touch of Fear (1961) Hammer Horror

Starring Ann Todd, Christopher Lee and Susan Strasberg and scripted by Jimmy Sangster

In England, the body of a young girl is found determined to be an apparent suicide In Nice, France, the chauffeur, , dutifully arrives at the airport to pick up Penny Appleby(Susan Strasberg).She is confined to a wheelchair since a long-ago horse riding accident, Penny has come to stay with her wealthy father and stepmother, Jane played by Ann Todd

All Penny knows is that she’s told her father is away, but she keeps seeing his corpse all around the house.

A Place In The Sun (1951) Based on Theordore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters.

Games (1967)

One of Curtis Harrington’s best psychological thrillers starring James Caan, Katherine Ross and Simone Signoret. Ross and Caan are a New York City couple who like to play games. Suddenly Simone Signoret comes into their lives and now the atmosphere changes from parlor games to deadly games.

Diabolique (1955) directed by Henri -George Clouzot

and starring Simone Signoret as the mistress to a cruel head master at a private school for boys. She befriends the emotionally abused wife played by Vera Clouzot.And this friendship starts a series of events that are equally mysterious and disturbing.

What’s The Matter With Helen (1971)

Curtis Harrington’s best film, starring Debbie Reynold’s Shelley Winters and Dennis Weaver. The two film queens, play mothers of sons who are convicted of the sensational crime of murder. To escape the scrutiny of the press and the public, they move and open up a small dance studio for little girls. But terror follows them as some unknown assailant is lurking in the shadow, or is there something seriously wrong with Helen ( Shelley Winters)

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Audrey Hepburn plays Susie a blind woman who spends most of the film in the claustrophobic apartment waiting for her husband to come home. He’s been asked to hold a doll for a woman as they get off an airplane. The doll winds up in Susie’s possession.Enters, Richard Crenna and Alan Arkin who play memorable roles as the thugs who are after the doll which has been stuffed with heroine.

See No Evil aka Blind Terror (1971)After being blinded in a horseback-riding accident, Sarah Mia Farrow, moves in with her aunt, uncle and cousin.During her absence the entire family is murdered. She is unaware of this until she stumbles onto the bodies, and now  Sarah is trapped in the remote farmhouse and must try and escape the killer who is now hunting her.

Fright (1971)Susan George is the young babysitter Amanda who arrives at the Lloyd residence to spend the evening looking after their young son. There is an escaped maniac from the local asylum on the loose and soon a series of frightening occurrences in the dark old house has Amanda frightened to death.Starring Honor Blackman and Ian Bannen.

And Soon The Darkness ( 1970)

Pamela Franklin stars in this film about two British tourists, young girls who decide to travel the lovely country side of France only to encounter a psycho sexual rapist/murderer who begins to stalk them while vacationing. Very taut and claustrophobic journey of two girls out of their element and in harms way.


The Collector 1965)

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a shy psychopathic bank clerk whose passion is collecting butterflies, When he becomes obsessed with art student Miranda Grey (Sammantha Eggar) he sets out to acquire her the same way. He prepares the cellar of the house to be a collecting/killing jar. Based on the novel by John Fowles.

 

The Stepford Wives (1972) Written and scripted by Ira Levin who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby and Boys from Brazil. It stars Katherine Ross, who unwittingly becomes the target of an elite group of men who decide that their wives in this bedroom town of successful beautiful people, aren’t quite perfect as they are. Also starring Paula Prentiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Way To Treat A Lady (1968) Starring Rod Steiger, George Segal and Lee Remick. Directed by Jack Smight. George Segal is a nice jewish boy detective who’s under his mother’s thumb, this weary yet clever cop winds up playing a cat and mouse game with a highly dramatic and psychotic killer who is using the art of disguise to lure and trap his women victims. The element of the Oedipus complex is richly explored in this film and Steiger is masterful as a man coming undone on his mission to destroy his mother with every stroke of the redlipstick he leaves as his calling card.

Blood Simple (1984)

Joel Coen’s of the Coen Brothers startling thriller with Frances McDormand, M.Emmet Walsh and Dan Hedaya. A bar owner hires a private eye to follow his wife to make sure that she’s not cheating on him.

Night Watch (1973) Elizabeth Taylor plays Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. No one especially her husband played by Laurence Harvey nor friend Billy Whitelaw believes that she’s actually seen a gruesome murder take place in the abandoned house across the courtyard.


Klute (1971)  http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2492530969/

John Klute’s (Donald Sutherland)friend has totally disappeared. The only clue a connection with a call girl, Bree Daniels played by Jane Fond. Klute sets up shop in Bree’s apartment to try and uncover the answers to what has happened, and must guard against the allure of the beautiful New York City call-girl he enlists to help him,while putting her in grave danger.

 

 

You’ll Like My Mother (1972) made for television film

Patty Duke stars as a young pregnant woman who comes to her mother-in- law’s house after her husband dies. Something is not quite right in the house and Richard Thomas plays a really convincing psychopath in this chilling made for tv movie also stars Rosemary Murphy


Night Must Fall (1937)

Robert Montgomery plays the likable psychopath who is hiding out on the loose and keeping his victim’s head in a hat box. I prefer this earlier adaptation of the film with Rosalind Russell to the later 1964 version with Albert Finney. Robert Montgomery is spectacular as the charming psychopath, and Dame May Whitty is superb.

Undercurrent (1946)

Starring Katherine Hepburn, she plays the wife of Robert Taylor who may be a psychopath trying to kill her. Also starring Robert Mitchum.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) another Hitchcock masterpiece.

this one’s about good old uncle Charlie masterfully played by Joseph Cotton, who just might be the Merry Widow Killer. Teresa Wright is his niece who starts to see him for who he really is.

 


The Secret Behind The Door (1947)Fritz Lang

Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave are exceptional in this tale of newlyweds Celia and Mark Lamphere. This is a Freudian journey of insanity, undying love and redemption. Is Redgrave a twisted murderer and will Bennett survive what lies behind the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Mrs Carrolls (1947)

Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck and Alexis Smith.

Bogart is brilliant as he plays struggling artist Gerry Carroll who meets Sally while on holiday in the country. A romance develops but he doesn’t tell her he’s already married. Suffering from mental illness, Gerry returns home where he paints an impression of his wife as the angel of death and then promptly poisons her. He marries Sally but after a while he finds a strange urge to paint her as the angel of death too and history seems about to repeat itself. The film also stars the angelic Ann Carter as Carroll’s lonely daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For Mr Goodbar (1977)Directed by Richard Brooks

Stars Diane Keaton as a dedicated teacher of deaf children by day but lives a dual life as she cruises the bars at night looking for abusive men to have dangerous sexual encounters with. Also stars Richard Gere, and Tuesday Weld.

 

Ladies In Retirement (1941) Starring Ida Lupino as a housekeeper trying to look out for her two emotionally disturbed sisters. One of which is the wonderful Elsa Lanchester.

The Night Walker (1964) directed William Castle and written by Robert Bloch it stars Barbara Stanwyck who’s dream lover Lloyd Bochner may or may not be real. She is haunted by these nightly visions of her dead husband. Also starts Robert Taylor.

Cape Fear (1962)

Exceptional thriller especially from great performances by Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen. Peck is the lawyer who puts Mitchum a rageful psychopath, Max Cady in jail, and now he’s out to terrorize the entire family.

Experiment In Terror (1962)

Directed by Blake Edwards, Lee Remick plays Kelly Sherwood a woman who is being terrorized by a creepy asthmatic man named Garland “Red”Lynch brilliantly played by Ross Martin. He wants her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. Red kidnaps Kelly’s younger sister Stefanie Powers in order to strong arm her into doing what he wants. Glenn Ford plays the cool agent on Red’s trail.

 

The Eyes Of Laura Mars (1978) written for the screen by John Carpenter

Stars Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Dourif a very underrated actor.

Dunaway is a high fashion photographer and her models are being assailed and gruesomely murdered by a  psychopath who doesn’t approve of her point of view as art. Very disturbing and well done thriller.

Coma (1978)

Based on Michael Crichton’s book, stars Genevieve Bujold and Michael Douglas. Bujold becomes curious about several deaths where patients are inexplicably going into comas.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

A Howling In The Woods(1971) Barbara Eden stars as a woman who comes back to the family estate, only to find that her father has disappeared and her stepmother is acting strange. So are all the town folk. Vera Miles and Larry Hagman also star in this made for TV film

Death Car On The Freeway (1979)

Starring Shelley Hack and Peter Graves. There is a psychotic driver playing fiery fiddle music on his 8 track stereo as he runs women off the L.A. Freeway in his van. Fun made for tv film.

The Screaming Woman (1972)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great Olivia de Havilland hears a woman crying from underneath the ground on her property, but no one in the area will believe her. Has Ed Nelson buried his wife alive?

Crescendo ( 1970) Scripted by Jimmy Sangster, Stefanie Powers is an American girl who goes to France to work on her thesis. She stays with the family of a famous pianist/composer, but something isn’t quite right.

Scream Pretty Peggy(1973)

Directed by Gordon Hessler, it stars Bette Davis the mother of Ted Bessell(That Girl) a sculptor who hires young girls to come and take care of his aged mother and insane sister.

The Mad Room (1969)

Remake of 1941’s “Ladies in Retirement” Stars Stella Stevens as a psychotic women who is a companion to the wealthy Shelley Winters. Stella’s younger sister and brother have just been released from an institution have believed that they killed their parents years ago.

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) tv film

John Newland directed this really spooky film starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. About little evil gremlins that have been trapped in the family fireplace  down the cellar. Classic spooky tv film

When Michael Calls (1972) made for tv film

Starring Michael Douglas, Ben Gazzara and Elizabeth Ashley plays Helen who keeps on receiving phone calls from a child, who claims being her nephew Michael – but Michael died 15 years ago.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Sweet Rachel (1971) made for tv film starring Pat Hingle, Louise Latham and Stefanie Powers.

An ESP expert uses his powers to try to track down a psychic who uses telepathy to commit murder.

A Taste Of Evil (1971)

Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, this film stars Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, Roddy McDowall and William Windom. Barbara Parkins has been in an institution after a brutal rape as a child. Now she’s come home to her mother’s house where it happened, and strange things begin to happen. Is she going crazy or is she being assailed by an unseen stalker?

 

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)Bert I Gordon directs something other than things either growing large or shrinking into oblivion this film is starring Don Ameche, Martha Hyer,and Zsa Zsa Gabor

Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she’s been confined to after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her mother.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

Starring Laurence Harvey a Korean War veteran who lives with his sister Joanna Petit. A girl wandering on the beach is taken in by Harvey but she soon learns of his strange appetites. Also starring John Ireland and Stuart Whitman.



 

MonsterGirl’s Quote of the Day! Psycho

“We all go a little mad sometimes~ Anthony Perkins in Psycho”-Norman Bates

 

MonsterGirl’s Quote of The Day! What Ever Happened To Baby Jane

” But you are Blanche ; You are in that chair”-Bette Davis, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane